(by Tom Eberle)

If you are a reader of this newsletter, you might have experienced yourself the reality of today's higher education: staring a shared-screen for hours, trying to follow the monotone explanation of a professor, while watching, from times to times, the faces of the other few students that turned on their webcam. Luckily, a whole industry is focusing on developing new technologies to improve education: EdTech. In this article, we will try to explore whether new education technologies will improve or disrupt higher education as we know it.

Before diving into higher education, let's have a general look at the EdTech market and its dynamics.

🛰️ A high-level overview of EdTech

At first, a definition to put everyone on the same page.

"EdTech – education technology – covers not only online learning, but also the whole suite of software, hardware and digital tools and services that can help deliver education." - Credit Suisse.

Characteristics & trends

EdTech acts only on the education market, one of the most labour-intensive economic sector. It is thus highly reliant on people's skill. As a sidenote, education is noticeably under digitised compared to other industries, with less than 3.6% of global expenditure on technology (representing around $220bn). In comparison, the health industry in Europe spends 7.4% on HealthTech. Nonetheless, digital spending in education is expected to grow up to 5.2% in 2025, bringing an additional $170bn in expenditures.


Source: HolonIQ (accessed Jan 28th, 2021)

From a VC perspective, EdTech has experienced rapid growth in investment in the last years: $16bn have been invested globally in 2020 - twice the amount of 2018. China has positioned itself as a major player, with $27bn of VC funds invested over the last 10 years. Europe lags far behind with $2.6bn invested. In total, there 20 EdTech unicorns worldwide (vs. 50 for HealthTech).


Source: HolonIQ (accessed Jan 28th, 2021)